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Volume 2

 

Review by Chris Guanche

August 8, 2004

 

Summary

 

At the Actaeon Industries satellite, the company executive hires a mercenary to steal Lowe's Red Frame. At the Barnacle space dock, Lowe argues with 8 about upgrades to the Red Frame. Kisato and Liam meet Marlin, a bouncy young Junk Guild intern. Marlin introduces herself to Lowe and thinks that he's cute. Lowe shows her around, and she spots her target: the Red Frame. Marlin sees the right arm of the Gold Frame and asks Lowe where he found it. Lowe explains that he found it at Heliopolis, but he doesn't think the rest of the suit survived. Later, the HOME leaves Barnacle. Kisato and Liam are suspicious about Marlin, but the Professor says she might have a good reason for being on the ship. She asks what Marlin is doing, and Liam tells her that Marlin is performing maintenance on the Red Frame. The Professor wonders if that's a good idea because the Red Frame just broke out of the cargo bay. Marlin tries to become accustomed to the Red Frame's OS, and Lowe chases after her with his Kimera. He demands that she return it to him, but she tells him she's taking it back where it belongs. Lowe attacks Marlin, but he tries to avoid damaging the Red Frame. Suddenly, 8 detects an incoming mobile suit. The mercenary from Actaeon approaches with his GINN and attacks the Red Frame. Marlin tries to fight back with the beam rifle and performs miserably. The GINN pilot knocks away her beam rifle, but Lowe smashes his Kimera into the GINN. He tells Marlin to connect 8 to the Red Frame's OS, which causes the cockpit hatch to open. Lowe jumps out of his Kimera without a normal suit and lands in the Red Frame's cockpit on top of Marlin. The GINN pilot breaks the arms of the Kimera, and Lowe responds by cutting off the GINN's right arm. Marlin screams and complains to Lowe that he's squeezing her breasts by sitting on top of her. The mercenary attacks again, and Lowe blocks with his shield. Marlin wants to finish him off and routes power to the Gerbera Straight, but Lowe drops it because it isn't a beam saber. The energy discharges through the hand and destroys the GINN's head. Later, Lowe and the others send Marlin away. Kisato wonders if Marlin regrets her actions, and the Professor thinks she may have completed her mission. Marlin, aka Juri Wu Nien, reports to Erica Simmons that the OS used by the Red Frame allows Naturals to pilot mobile suits. Erica is pleased and knows that she can almost complete the mass produced M1 Astrays now.

 

In an asteroid field, Gai meets with an informant named Kenaf Luchini. Gai demands to know why Kenaf called him out and if it's some attempt at extortion. Kenaf explains that he only has some free information to give. He says that people in high places want Lowe dead and that only Gai can save him. Gai doesn't believe Kenaf and says that Lowe can take care of himself. Even if Lowe is in danger, he doesn't see why he would have to help him. Kenaf tells Gai he's wasted valuable information, and two GINNs appear from behind asteroids and attack the Blue Frame. Gai quickly destroys both of them as Kenaf escapes. Elsewhere, the HOME lands on a large piece of debris from the PLANT Junius Seven. The crew attempts to pull the piece out of the debris belt before it enters Earth's atmosphere and becomes dangerous. Lowe feels something and stops working. He feels that something is calling the Red Frame and flies off. He searches the area and finds the one-armed Gold Frame waiting for him with a hyper bazooka. Gold Frame pilot Rondo Ghina Sahaku attacks Lowe, and he doesn't understand why. Although he's running low on power, he pulls out his Gerbera Straight to fight the Gold Frame. Liam wants to give Lowe his beam rifle, but the Professor tells him that Lowe would only have enough power for one shot. Lowe dodges Rondo's attacks and finds that he's being pushed towards the Earth's atmosphere. Liam shoots out several pieces of debris as a distraction and tells Lowe that the beam rifle is in one of the pieces. Lowe grabs the beam rifle and asks 8 to reroute its power to the Red Frame's hand. He fires the beam rifle and produces little effect. Rondo approaches to finish him off, and he attacks with his hand energy discharge. He reroutes all power to the hand, which causes the right forearm to explode. Rondo is knocked towards the HOME, but the Professor pushes him away with a Kimera arm. Rondo retreats, but Lowe is left without power and is forced to enter the atmosphere. The HOME pulls in next to him with the debris and grabs hold of the Red Frame. The HOME survives atmospheric entry, but it is damaged beyond repair after crashing.

 

At Onogoro Island, Erica meets with Kazahana Adja, a 6-year-old representative for Serpent Tail. Their conversation is interrupted with the Orb forces detect the Lesseps approaching Orb territory. Orb sends a fleet of Aegis ships and Helis to surround the Lesseps. Kisato is worried because they are on a ZAFT ship, but Liam assures her they're safe because the ship is covered with Junk Guild symbols. Lowe doesn't care if they attack, because it will give him a chance to test out the new Gold Frame arm he installed on the Red Frame. The Lesseps is given a warning message from Orb, but the Professor knows it's her old friend Erica having fun with them. The Professor explains to Lowe that Erica is a top developer on Orb's Astray project. Lowe takes the Red Frame to the Morgenroete facility and is amazed when he sees all the M1 Astray units. While having a look at them, Cagalli Yula Attha comes up to him in a fancy dress and asks him why he always has such a carefree look on his face. She complains about the M1 Astrays before running off to talk to her father. The Professor meets with Erica, and Erica says the information she sent was useful. Lowe, Liam and Kisato realize that they didn't find the Red Frame by accident. Lowe then meets Kazahana and asks about Gai. She can't tell him anything, so he figures the Blue Frame landed on Earth too. Lowe is then introduced to M1 Astray pilots Juri, Asagi Caldwell and Mayura Labatt. Juri jumps all over Lowe, but he doesn't recognize her until she takes off her glasses. Erica explains that "Marlin" was sent to gather data on how a Natural could pilot a mobile suit. Erica asks Lowe and the others if they could repair the Archangel for her. After working on the ship, Lowe, Kisato, Liam and Kazahana walk through the streets and are lost. Lowe asks four suspicious young men for directions, but they don't know anything. They are actually ZAFT pilots Athrun Zala, Dearka Elsman, Yzak Joule and Nicol Amalfi. Nicol lies and says they're new employees, and Lowe eventually finds his way.

 

Lowe returns to the mobile suit facility and is beset by Juri once more. She shows him her M1 Astray and asks him if he wants to test it out. She is happy about being with him again and brags to Asagi and Mayura that Lowe was all over her before and touching her breasts. Kisato walks off in a bad mood, and Kazahana tells her she can't mope around. She tells Kisato that she has to fight for love and is willing to help. Lowe rides in the M1 Astray with Juri, and Erica asks him to switch to the Red Frame for a test battle with an M1 Astray. Lowe attacks an M1 Astray piloted by Rondo and realizes that he's fighting a Coordinator. Lowe tries to use his energy attack on Rondo, but he blocks it. He knocks Lowe away and attempts to finish him off. He uses his Gerbera Straight to slice Rondo's shield apart. He attacks once more, but Rondo stops the Gerbera Straight with his hands and steals it from Lowe. Rondo then knocks him away and slashes at his cockpit before stopping. Lowe gets out of the cockpit and is impressed that Rondo won. He tells him he should repair her M1 Astray because it can't handle the Gerbera Straight. Just then, the M1 Astray's left arm falls off. Lowe finds Kisato crying and tells her not to worry about him. Lowe asks Juri about Rondo, and she explains that Rondo is a high-ranking person responsible for the Astray project. Erica offers to repair the Red Frame, and Lowe asks if he can take some M1 parts. While taking a rest, Lowe says that the Archangel has left and that he hopes it doesn't get so damaged again after he fixed it. Later, the Professor tells everyone they have a new job to build the Gigafloat, an artificial island meant to help stop the loss of space boats. She tells them to contact Reverend Malchio, a blind peace activist who runs an orphanage. Lowe asks why, and the Professor explains that the Gigafloat project is his idea. Liam wants to go with Lowe, but the Professor tells him she wants him to go to space and find them a new ship. At Morgenroete, Rondo asks Erica about the flight pack she installed on the Red Frame. Erica asks Rondo if he planned on killing Lowe, and Rondo says he just let him temper get the best of him. He tells Erica that he needs to have the Gold Frame upgraded immediately because the future of Orb depends on it.

 

In the Marshall Islands, Lowe stumbles upon a battle between Athrun's Aegis Gundam and Kira Yamato's Aile Strike Gundam. When the Aegis Gundam self detonates, Lowe uses the Gerbera Straight to cut away the energy waves from the blast. Afterwards, Lowe goes over to the beach and examines the ruined Aile Strike. He opens the emergency hatch and pulls Kira out of the cockpit. Later, Lowe stumbles into Malchio's house and finds Kisato waiting for him. She tells him she was worried after seeing an explosion so she came to see if he was okay. Lowe asks Malchio to help Kira and explains he had to carry him over after the Red Frame ran out of power. Malchio remembers hearing Kira's name from Lacus. At the Kaguya mass driver, Malchio prepares to take Kira into space to deliver him to Lacus. As Lowe prepares to leave, Juri tells Kisato that Lowe is all hers now. The next day, Gai and Elijah arrive at Orb and find that Lowe has already left for the Gigafloat and is heading straight into trouble. In space, a young space pirate named Portia and her crew search the Graveyard area for valuables. They find a strange old man named Un No, who created the Gerbera Straight. He threatens them with a BuCUE hanging from the ceiling, and Portia pretends to faint. Un No's dog Denpachi comes out of the BuCUE, and Un No tends to Portia. She tells her crew that the Alliance would probably pay a lot of money for a dog that can pilot a mobile suit. She then grabs Denpachi and tries to start up the BuCUE. Un No yells at her and says that Denpachi can only open the hatch, not pilot the suit. Lowe then shows up with his Red Frame and threatens Portia with his Gerbera Straight. Portia leaves and decides to quit the pirate business.

 

Commentary

 

Since Lowe's story is told across two manga series, this volume doesn't pick up on the cliffhanger from the last volume. Instead, we have a story featuring quite a lot of characters from the TV series. First up is Juri Wa Nien, who disguises herself to get Red Frame data and takes quite a liking to Lowe, much to the dismay of Kisato. Later, we're introduced to the mysterious Rondo Ghina Sahaku and his Gold Frame. Lowe discovers a new ability with the Red Frame, and it barely saves him while fighting Rondo. On Earth, Lowe has a funny encounter with the ZAFT boys. If only he knew who they really were. Also, the question about Kira's mysterious rescue and appearance in space is answered. He's lucky that Lowe just happened to be there to find him. This volume ends with another sort of cliffhanger. What's the deal with the Gigafloat, and why would Gai feel the need to warn Lowe? And what is Rondo up to? Aside from the main story, there's also a bonus chapter with space pirate Portia. The idea of a dog piloting a dog-shaped mobile suit is quite amusing. Also, Tokita provides several more SD comic strips, but there aren't as many as in his previous works.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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